DURAND, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – In 1920, after decades of fighting, women across the nation finally won the right to vote.
First News at Nine’s Leeann Stapleton explains how a century later, the Chippewa Valley is remembering the suffrage movement.
“Last year was the centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote in this country,” Miller said.
Miller says because of COVID, the 100th-anniversary event could not be held as planned. So, this year Miller made sure that history would be remembered through a presentation, titled “Thank you, Grandma”
“Looking at some of the people that will be attending, their grandmas were potentially some of the women that were fighting for voting right back in, I would say that critical time between 1900 to 1920,” Miller said.
The educational event was held in Durand on Sunday. It showed connections of the Women’s Suffrage movement to the Chippewa Valley.
Terry Mesch is the in the Pepin County Historical Society and the Director of the Old Pepin Courthouse Museum. He says the inspiration for the presentation is inspired by a speech made by women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony. The speech was originally given in the upstairs courtroom of the Pepin Courthouse on her way to Minneapolis in 1878. That speech prompted organizers to wonder what it was like back then in the Chippewa Valley.
“We have connections, local and regional connections, via the newspapers of the times who were publishing stories related to these events,” Mesch said.
“Thank you, Grandma” shed light on the fight for voting rights for women in the Chippewa Valley and beyond.
“It was a 72-year struggle,” Miller said.
Miller says that right is sometimes taken for granted.
“When you really look into the history of what women went through to get that right and what we needed to do to keep it,” Miller said. “When there isn’t a lot of election talk going on, this is when you can really dig into the history and why we should protect this precious right.”
Miller wants to encourage people to think of suffragists like Susan B. Anthony next time they head to the polls.
“I think looking at the bigger perspective of some of it, some struggles are really long and can look bleak,” Miller said. “I think this is a good example of why if something maters to you, you keep going.”
To learn about upcoming elections in 2022 in Wisconsin and to register to vote, click here.
For information on the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley, click here.
In Durand, Leeann Stapleton, First News at Nine.
Miller reminds you to register to vote ahead of the primary election next February.